Netflix Roku Hulu Plus This ‘n’ That

Roku 3* We recently replaced our Xbox with a Roku 3 because we got tired of paying Microsoft $60 every year for the privilege of watching Netflix. We hardly ever played games on it and when we did, it was not online. I love that you can plug earbuds into the remote to watch movies quietly while others are sleeping. I haven’t actually used that feature yet but I think it’s cool.

* It also comes preloaded with Angry Birds Space. Is there anyone out there who thinks of the Roku 3 as a gaming platform? They also sell, via their channel store, versions of Pac-Man and Galaga for $5 a pop.

Hulu Plus* That said, Hulu Plus’ interface on the Roku 3 is horrendous. I always tell Hulu my favorite shows and put them in queue a la Netflix. This is what I have to do to watch the latest Daily Show in my queue:

The top 2/3 of the screen is taken up by the shows Hulu is currently promoting. Going down to the menu below, I skip past TV, movies, trailers, and kids before scrolling offscreen to queue. I select queue which brings me to favorites (seriously). I go down to queue (again) and select The Daily Show. It puts me on Series Details (again seriously). I go down to a queued episode and select it. Even after all of that, it wants to know if I want to play it or remove from queue or get more details or go to the series page or even see some suggestions from Hulu.

Well, I have some suggestions for Hulu. The printable one is, get me out of this design hell. I swear that the designers of this are probably the sort who would like to bring back rotary phones for the sheer joy of watching people dial a ‘9’.

Netflix* Netflix is doing an admirable job of trying to address the complete mess that is their recommendation system. They now have profiles you can set up for the various members of your household. Hopefully that means that at some point, it will stop recommending all the Disney movies I watch with my granddaughter.

On the other hand, they still haven’t fixed the easiest part of their recommendation system. If I have both watched AND rated something, how can Netflix call it a recommendation? Once upon a time my entire set of ten recommendations were all movies and shows that I had both rated and watched on Netflix. At least now it is down to one, Supernatural.

Another one is that if I have put it into my personal queue, it isn’t really a recommendation either.


* OOPS Department: ActionFest’s August offering is I Declare War on Thursday August 15th at 7:30 p.m. For some reason I listed July’s ActionFest date.


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